Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The LA Times is worried that rolling back fuel economy standards might allow drivers to choose the solidly built gas guzzling cars they want instead of being forced to buy climate friendly plastic boxes on wheels.
Rolling back fuel economy standards could mean bigger cars — and less progress on climate change
By Tony Barboza
Gas prices have been so low in recent years that more Americans are choosing to buy bigger vehicles, a trend that has stymied efforts to cut auto emissions.
One thing reining in consumer appetite for trucks and SUVs has been tough fuel economy standards adopted several years ago by California and the Obama administration. Those rules are forcing automakers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and put cleaner, more efficient gas, hybrid and electric vehicles in showrooms, whether customers want them or not.
But this week, the Trump administration declared that those standards are too onerous for the auto industry and should be weakened — a move that would undermine the single biggest action the federal government has taken to slow climate change while threatening California’s ability to adopt its own, stricter rules for tailpipe emissions.
Those strict standards were necessary, experts in environmental regulation say, to push against the influence of low gas prices.
“For many, many years until these standards were issued we saw no increase in average fuel economy,” said Ann Carlson, an environmental law professor at UCLA. “Now we’re seeing many more models that are either zero-emission or very high-economy hybrids. We see larger cars getting more fuel efficient and regular combustion engines getting more fuel efficient. I don’t think that happens without government regulations.”
“The focus in the past has been on making manufacturers in Detroit, making manufacturers in various parts of the country make cars that people aren’t going to buy,” Pruitt said. “Our focus should be on making cars that people purchase actually more efficient.”
I love articles like this, because they draw back the veil on the intense frustration greens seem to feel about ordinary people having the liberty to make choices which greens don’t approve.